When it comes to UI or UX design, there’s many great tools out there! But if you need to come up with low or high fidelity wireframe, prototype, design process or user flow or simply document your UIs, there’s not many competitors to Axure.
What I do like about Axure (and what makes it stand out among other alternatives)
There’s a lot of features in Axure I really love. Even though the competition is strong in this design/prototyping/sharing area, I still consider Axure as one of the best, all-in-one tools out there.
Features where Axure really excels for me:
- Create wireframes quickly – really, if you have your own library or design system in Axure, nothing can beat the speed of work here. Yes, creating an own design system, UI kit or library takes time (a lot!) but you’ll benefit from this investment in the future. You’ll never have to start from scratch. Many hours spend on mocking up websites or landing pages could be easily cut down with Axure library to minutes. (No, I’m not exaggerating here).Other alternatives for wireframe design: Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, Balsamiq Mockups
- Rapid prototyping – You don’t have to know the code or have university degree to be able to come up with prototypes in Axure. For the basic prototyping functionality, all you need to do is to learn the foundation.Other alternatives for rapid prototyping: Adobe XD, Figma, Sketch, Marvel, Protopie
- Advanced prototyping – Yes, Axure is great when it comes to quick and dirty prototyping. And what’s more, it’s great for more advanced ones as well: think of interactive form fields with different states (normal, active, hover,…), variables, conditional logic, math functions and expressions… There’s a lot of advanced prototyping features you can dive deeper in Axure. And this area is – from my perspective – where Axure is a way better than its competition. I will say it again: there’s no other tool where you can do advanced prototyping on the same level with the same simplicity as in Axure. (For comparison: In other tools like Framer or Origami Studio you always need to touch the code on some level to come up with the same result as you’d have in Axure).Other alternatives to Axure for advanced prototyping: UXpin, Framer, Origami Studio, good old HTML/CSS Code
- Responsive websites prototyping – by default you can easily work in Axure with multiple views. That means you as a designer can adapt all your designs in minutes for different screen sizes and resolutions (mobile, tablet, desktop,…). This is native, built in feature and it will become an essential part of your design workflow. It’s 2021 and I’m not aware that any other design* (!) tool has something like this. Yes, if you’re using some competitor tool like Sketch or Figma, you can always use some third-party plugin like Anima, but noting can beat the benefit of having it implemented natively.*(Yes, I’m aware of tools like Webflow but I don’t consider them as a tools primarily aimed at designers…)
- Collaboration, documentation and handoff to developers – Axure design documentation features are best in class! I really like how they are integrated in the application and how easy is to pick them up and start using them. There’s no other design app that integrates documentation on the same level for your designs as Axure does (or at least I’m not aware of it – feel free to let me know in comments!) – you have page and widget notes, that can contain metadata for your designs and you don’t need the tool itself to see them – if you export your prototype, they are visible for anyone!One of the handy features is ability to auto-generate design specification document for your final handover. This is great as you don’t have to spend excessive time doing this and it’s really one click! Publishing your work from Axure to Axure Cloud is – again – really easy. Once you export everything, you can send the link to all project stakeholders and they can give their comments to your designs.
Quite recently Axure introduce also inspecting feature that allows developers to inspect your designs and extract all important and relevant data and assets form your files.
Final thoughts – what’s the best alternative to Axure?
Ok, I know I called this article 5 alternatives to Axure and I intended to put together five tools you should you, but as I were researching the land I concluded it would be more beneficial to split this into different areas (see 👆) and give you tips for them. Because there’s never no “one tool to rule them all” and I believe you as a designer should be flexible with your toolbox always regarding the context and type of the work you’re doing.
For those who NEED to see that list, I can totally put it together. It would look like this:
5 best alternatives to Axure
What do you think of this list? Is there any other app you’d like to see there? (Please consider this is a list of all round, general UX/UI prototyping tools).